A 28-year-old former Gears of War professional player was shot and killed in an Atlanta, Georgia parking lot Friday night while trying to sell a used Playstation 4 to a couple he met over Craigslist.
Police say that when Daniel Zeitz met the couple in the parking lot around 9:30pm, the man, identified by police as Nathaniel Vivian, 20, attempted to steal the console from Zeitz. When Zeitz resisted, the 16-year-old girl, whose name has not yet been released, pulled out a .25 caliber pistol and fired one shot. It pierced Vivian’s hand and hit Zeitz in the chest—all while the girl’s 16-month-old baby sat in the couple’s nearby car.
The pair were arrested at Northside Hospital as they sought medical attention for Vivian’s hand. Vivian originally told Brookhaven police at the hospital that he was the victim of a crime, before eventually confessing to the murder.
The girl is currently being held in Fulton County Jail without bond. On Tuesday, the county’s district attorney’s office announced it would try her as an adult alongside Vivian. The child has since been turned over to the girl’s relatives.
The last people to speak with Zeitz alive were his Gears of War teammates. According to K.L. “arCtyC” Smith, the last thing Zeitz said was, “Hey guys, I’ll be right back.” Smith received a phone call at 4am the following morning informing him that Zeitz had been killed.
Zeitz and Smith were members of the AmazYn squad that competed in Major League Gaming competitions nearly seven years ago, well before the advent of multi-million viewer esports competitions. Smith described Zeitz as “one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life.” Teammates referred to him as “Mr. Buddy Buddy” due to his friendly demeanor and positive attitude.
Since the incident, Smith and his friends have set up a GoFundMe page in order to help Zeitz’s family with funeral costs.
“It’s a tragic loss,” Smith said in a tribute video.
Sadly, Zeitz isn’t even the first pro gamer to be murdered in such circumstances this year. In February, Smash Bros. pro Mike Halcomb was shot dead by two men while carrying his Xbox down an Oakland street. It’s not clear what the men’s motive was in that case.